The 90 best iPad apps

We've gathered together the very best iPad apps in Apple's App Store – and many are free. You're sure to find a timelessly brilliant app that meets your needs, saving you the hassle of searching through the hundreds of thousands available.

Whether you're looking to design on your iPad, carry out research, find inspiration, or improve your task management and productivity there are tons of iPad apps in our list. So here goes, in no particular order...

01. Adobe Capture CC

Adobe Capture CC

Quickly capture, edit and share images with Adobe Capture CC

Price: Free

Packed with useful features to work alongside apps like Adobe Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC, Adobe Capture CC lets users extract colour themes from photos and convert images into vector graphics. You can also refine your graphics with an array of brushes, then use them to create filters with a 3D histogram and intensity slider.

02. Pixate


Pixate lets you preview interactive app prototypes on your iPhone or iPad

Price: Free

Generate native prototypes and preview your ideas as if they've already gone live with the help of Pixate. You won't have to write a single line of code, and with just a few clicks you can layer up your full-fidelity iOS and Android prototypes. Once your design is made you can quickly share it with other team members and start working on feedback right away.

03. Skala


Skala lets creatives send pixel perfect design previews

Price: Free

Skala lets users iterate faster in the seemingly endless struggle to arrive at a better design. Capable of transferring both pixel and colour perfect design previews between Macs, iPhones and mobile devices, Skala also lets you test tap sizes and text sizes, all the stage where it's easiest to make changes. Download it now to save yourself a headache later on.

04. Sketchworthy


Manage notes, scribbles, sketches and more with Sketchworthy

Price: $3.30/ £2.29

Taking advantage of new iOS 6 technology, Sketchworthy is a clean, intuitive app that works across both iPads and iPhones, which lets users store and edit anything they've captured. Recorded photos, maps, web pages and more become virtual pages can be scribbled over just like in a real life notebook thanks to the app's smooth and fluid drawing engine.

05. Sunrise Calendar

Sunrise Calendar app

This refreshed calendar will keep you on track
  • Price: Free

Sunrise Calendar is an app that collects all your calendar data into one place. Recently given a massive makeover and update for iPad and iPhone, it's a fab-looking iOS 7-flavoured app that you can use to funnel all those Google calendars, plus the iCloud-powered ones on your iPhone and iPad, into one super-calendar that'll hopefully ensure you're never double-booked again.

06. Adobe Photoshop Mix

Adobe Photoshop Mix

Photoshop Mix replaced Photoshop Touch in 2015
  • Price: Free

It may not be Photoshop CC, and Adobe Photoshop Mix isn't without its limitations. However, this iPad app retains enough of its desktop cousin's features (and places them in a sleek, pared-down, tablet-optimised interface) to make it an essential download, and one of the best iPad apps for designers.

07. Cloze

Best iPad apps: Cloze

Cloze aims to improve those all-important online relationships
  • Price: Free

Cloze is an iPad app designed to help you manage and improve online relationships with the important people in life. It does this by presenting communication between you by email, and on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter in one unified inbox.

Cloze automatically splits your contacts into two groups – Key People, and everyone else. It does this by allocating each of your contacts a score based on how often you communicate with them, the form that communication takes, how often they respond to you and the breadth of topics you discuss.

08. Camera+


There are a lot of camera apps for the iPad - does Camera+ have what it takes to be the best?
  • Price: $2.99/£2.29

iPad app Camera+ essentially does three things extremely well: capture, editing and sharing, and offers some terrific extras compared to the built-in Camera app. For example, if you have a new iPad (which has a proper movable lens system, and actually takes good photos), you can split the touch points for where you want the camera to focus and for where you want it to expose. You also get the option of shooting in burst mode (though the pictures are very low-res), shooting with a five-second time delay, or shooting automatically when the iPad detects it’s being held steadily.

When editing, there's a good range of special effects you can apply, and you can stack up multiple effects - setting the intensity of each, or even brushing the effect on or off with a configurable brush tool. You can also apply Scenes, optimising the shot for modes such as Cloudy or Sunset, and the Clarity filter gives most photos an instant lift.

09. Photoristic HD

best ipad apps for designers

Photoristic HD doesn't load you with unneccessary features

  • Price: $2.99/£2.29

Photoristic HD is an iPad image app that's just powerful enough to be quite useful without overloading you with features that you don't really want. It's all about the standard image adjustment tools (white balance, exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, vibrance and saturation), with additional colour controls, a black and white mode, split toning and a hefty collection of presets for Instagram-style quick fixes.

10. Pixaki

best ipad apps for designers

Pixaki is designed with professionals in mind
  • Price: $6.99/£4.99

Created by game developer Luke Rogers, Pixaki's billed as a pixel editor designed with professionals in mind, and it packs a decent set of features to ease your creative processes. Working on a canvas up to a whopping 512x512px in size, you can build your own 16 colour palette with an intuitive hue picker and work with up to 20 layers.

11. Loop

best ipad apps for designers

Create short, hand-drawn animation with Loop
  • Price: Free

Inspired by the work of its founder and creative director Matt Pyke, design studio Universal Everything created Loop, a drawing app that allows you to easily created short, hand-drawn animation and share them via email, Tumblr and in the Loop gallery.

12. Paper by FiftyThree

Paper's so lovely that it made us pile up and set fire to all our real pens and paper. True fact

Paper's so lovely that it made us pile up and set fire to all our real pens and paper. True fact
  • Price: Free

"I don't do any design work on my iPad," says web designer and product company founder Elliot Jay Stocks, but it appears that Paper has at least set him on the path. "I've recently been using it to do some rough sketches. Previously, I'd toyed around with Adobe Ideas, but Paper's friendly UI and life-like tools appeal to the illustrator in me. Even the roughest wireframes now look wonderful, thanks to the ink pen and the gorgeous watercolour brush!"

13. Tayasui Sketches

Best iPad apps: Sketches

Sketches joins the list of very capable drawing and painting iPad apps on offer
  • Price: Free

Sketches is one of the most delightfully simple drawing and painting iPad apps that we've found. It features eight brushes along the left-hand side, ranging from pencil and charcoal to felt pen and watercolour brush, with a further two available in the pro version.

Each one exhibits its respective characteristics brilliantly, meaning it's simple to pick a brush and start sketching. Although limited in terms of editing options, they're a delight to use, and in the pro version you're at least able to increase the size and shape as well as edit the blend mode.

14. Infuse 3

Best iPad apps: Infuse

Infuse is a beautiful way to watch videos on your iPad
  • Price: Free

Apple doesn't support most popular file formats but Infuse is a genuine rival to the popular AVPlayerHD. Infuse is indeed a beautiful way to watch videos. Just look at the gorgeous way in which it displays your video library: once copied across over iTunes, your videos are displayed as thumbnails in a grid format. However, instead of choosing a random frame from videos to fill those thumbnails, the app analyses the file name and metadata to work out exactly what the video is.

When it recognises a movie or a TV show episode, it chooses content-specific thumbnails as well as giving you episode synopses, artwork, cast lists and more.

15. Mextures

Best iPad apps: Mextures

When it comes to photo-editing iPad apps, Mextures is one of the most customisable
  • Price: $1.99/£1.49

Mextures is far from just another retro filter clone; it's the most customisable effects app on the App Store, and it's a must-have if you love the vintage look.

Part of its success is that the filters are all rather subtle, with only major effects taking place on your photo because you keep adding layers of different effects and dialling their strength up or down. The app's textures all come in packs (Light Leaks, Grit & Grain, Grunge and so on) that you can swap at will, overlaying multiple transitions until you're happy with the result.

16. Wunderlist


Wunderlist is another app that can turn a lurking iPad into a helpful additional computer, dedicated to managing your life
  • Price: Free

Managing to-dos is one of those things that can be arduous if you've the wrong app. This iPad app makes such things simple, syncing tasks across platforms. "It really helps me to stay organised and capture ideas on the go," raves user experience designer D Keith Robinson. "It's essentially become my back-up brain."

17. Vittles

Best iPad apps: Vittles

Create a short explanatory video clip with this iPad app
  • Price: $9.99/£7.99

A 'vittle' is a short explanatory video clip, and creating one is easy when using the basic drawing tools on offer with this iPad app. Either draw and record them or import photos and PDFs (from Dropbox or even Keynote) to create simple yet dynamic presentations on your iPad.

The tools are limited to simple brushes, colours and a lasso. Brush options are limited to a restrictive size range and altering the opacity, but they’re rendered using Vittle’s own dynamic brush engine – meaning they aren’t pixellated – even when zoomed in.

Vittles can be exported and shared at 720p and multiple clips can be recorded and re-arranged before exporting. Voiceovers can be added while you record or by exporting it to iMovie.

18. Computer Arts Magazine

Computer Arts app

Computer Arts: cheaper on the iPad than buying the dead-tree edition, and particularly lovely on the Retina display
  • Price: Free (container app)

Computer Arts is the leading magazine for designers, illustrators and creative professionals, and it's available right on your iPad via Newsstand. "Computer Arts has become a graphical bible for inspiration in design, enabling me to advance my techniques in Photoshop, illustration, logo design and typography," says Woods. "It has helped me turn flat designs into designs with more depth, personality and flare." Once you've downloaded the free container app, you can buy both regular issues and special editions, such as...

19. Computer Arts Print Glossary

Best iPad apps: Computer Arts Print Glossary

Never be bamboozled at the printers again with the Computer Arts Print Glossary app - an expert guide to print terms
  • Price: £1.49 (in-app purchase)

Heading to the printer can often be a daunting task if you're not too familiar with all of the terminology. Thankfully, that's where the Computer Arts Print Glossary comes in. It's a unique iPad app giving you quick access to common, and not so common, printer terms.

The glossary covers every bamboozling term you might encounter, from 'Deckle Edge' and 'Against the Grain' to 'Cheating the Plate'. With this handy app, you'll never need to fear the printers again! To buy the Computer Arts Print Glossary app you first need to download the free Computer Arts container app (see 18).

20. Lume

Best iPad apps: Lume

Pimp your photos with new light painting app Lume, created by art collective Lichtfaktor
  • Price: $0.99/£0.79

We're big fans of light painting here at Creative Bloq. A great way to make your photos stand out, this iPad app, developed by art collective Lichtfaktor, lets you add seriously cool effects to your images.

Instead of messing around for hours with a camera and real lights, you can create brilliant light effects simply by using an iPad and your fingertips. Lights can either be drawn directly onto existing images, or use photos can be used as templates to create striking portraits.

Next page: 20 more great iPad apps for designers